I usually felt nerves and jitters before every important meeting, I thought they were normal until these feelings were accompanied with sweating, short breathes, and fumbling, which is quite unusual for someone like me, who loves talking and is always high on energy. My supervisor noticed I was nervous and told me I was experiencing something called an anxiety attack; she showed me these easy exercises to cope with anxiety or panic attacks. The foremost thing you need to do is drink some water and sit down on a nearby chair or bench when you notice any of these symptoms-
Shortness of breath
Sweaty hands or feet
Restlessness or uneasiness
Fast heart beats
Now, these may be exercises some of us practice on a daily basis or think they are too simple to help control anxiety, but trust me, they can go a long way in helping you cope with anxiety attacks.
Breathe to relax yourself: One of the most common symptoms of an anxiety or panic attack is restlessness, which eventually leads to shortness of breath. You may want to sit down, and calm yourself down, by some easy breathing exercises such as- careful inhaling and exhaling or deep breaths. This helps relax your muscles and release that uneasy feeling. Close your eyes and take slow deep breathes.
IMPORTANT TIP: Breathe through your stomach and not your chest. Inhale and slowly exhale.
BONUS TIP: Confused if you are doing it right? Place your hand on your chest to know if you are breathing through your stomach or chest.
Close your eyes and think of your happy moments: Now this may sound like practicing the ‘Patronus charm’ and luckily, it is the same! While there may be no wand, but this is really magical. All you need to do is close your eyes, concentrate on your breathing and remember your strengths, which lie in all the happy and powerful memories you hold. Lose yourself in a place that is serene, peaceful and fills you with life.
IMPORTANT TIP: It is important to not stress yourself or try really hard to remember your happy moments, as long as you are able to concentrate on your breathing, you are doing this perfectly.
BONUS TIP: I am sure you know the power of meditation. Sit down or stand still and meditate for a minute.
Yoga: You may not be a big fan of yoga or someone who believes in such healing, but wait until you try these two easy ‘aasanas’ to calm your anxiety attack:
Breathing through alternate nostrils: Place your right thumb on your right nostril to close it in such a way that you can easily breathe through your left nostril. Now, inhale easily and move your right index finger to close your left nostril and simultaneously release your thumb to exhale from the right nostril. Practice this for 5 minutes to ease your breathing and overcome your short breaths.
Stretch your arms and toes: While seated on a bench or chair, with your hand in the air, bend down while you slowly inhale and come up while you slowly exhale. After some sets, bend over to the right side with similar inhale and exhale procedure and repeat with the left side.
IMPORTANT TIP: Go slow with the ‘aasanaas’ and do not hurry.
These exercises can provide you relief for that moment, or help you sail through your anxiety attack for the day, but if you experience them frequently or notice severe unusual behavior, visit your nearest doctor for medical assistance. Anxiety or panic attacks can be fatal too, hence it is important that you meet your doctor to examine the severity of your attack and seek medical help, if required.